General VR Catch-All

Picked up my Vive today after being away at a conference for a few days and missing the delivery.

Short, initial impressions (having previously owned a DK2): Amazing. It will take some time for software to really start hitting its stride but I'm a happy camper. The tutorial was short but joyous if you are a Portal fan.

So what's the deal with the Vive. The HTC site says they're in stock. Is this true from people's experiences here? Or are they really a month or more back ordered?

Reddit would suggest otherwise - frustration over delays in receiving units (albeit less intense than Oculus). I haven't watched it closely but I believe new orders are May.

I didn't realize how fortunate I was to get mine last week until I saw the noise online. Then again, a reminder this is the Internet and people will make noise about anything.

I posted my frustration with Vive shipping earlier (shipping seems random, and not based on when you ordered), but I just got a delivery notification today for arrival on Friday. Woot!

Imagine this with live sports or a concert in a few years:

Dramatic Marlin wrote:

I haven't watched it closely but I believe new orders are May.

So I have to decide whether to keep my Rift pre-order and get it sometime in late July, or place a new order for the Vive and get it next month. I'm kind of torn really... I *think* I would prefer the Rift, but I also want VR right now dammit!

IIUC vive preorders are for June now.

However, why not preorder both and cancel whatever ships later? Or sell whichever you don't like?

I just took the "I've waited this long, what's two more months" option. I felt like with people jumping ship from the rift line to the vive I might actually get mine sooner than stated. Also, I still want the rift.

FYI HTC support tells me that if I order right now my expected delivery is end of June.

Got my Vive yesterday! It's pretty damn great. I'll post some detailed comparisons with Rift once I've had more time and the shiny wears off a little.

Cool! Ill be curious if The Lab minigames have any staying power, just because it looks like Slingshot is something I could play forever

polypusher wrote:

Cool! Ill be curious if The Lab minigames have any staying power, just because it looks like Slingshot is something I could play forever :D

If I get Portal 3 on Vive, that's worth the price even if I never play any other games.

bandit0013 wrote:

If I get Portal 3 on Vive, that's worth the price even if I never play any other games.

So true. The humour in The Lab, in particular the Robot Repair, just makes me itch over the opportunity for Portal or something like that in the Vive.

As an elite dangerous player HMDs make me very excited. Super happy that it sounds like both displays work fairly well.

Comfort is the most important factor to me grabbing one, but it seems like the 1st gens are lacking somewhat in that field. Can I get some Goodjer feedback on that? Are eyeglasses a pain?

Elite looks really great in the Rift. It's butter smooth. Now if only I remember how the eff to play it and if only I could download a good control setup, because I've spent 90% of the 3 or so hours in Elite VR just adjusting stuff.

I have a Rift and fairly small round glasses. They work flawlessly. Wide glasses are in style and will have a hard time fitting, if its even possible for many styles. My frames are less wide than my head and sit just raised off the bridge of my nose. It's a very good fit. They dont come off when I take the headset off. I only occasionally even touch them.

I'm able to adjust them with the headset on thanks to the angle of the head strap. So that helps if the fit is a little off.

For overall comfort I find the Rift very comfortable. My only discomfort has been forgetting to blink and early on when I had the thing set up too tight. You want it to be a lot looser than you might expect. Get the 'cradle' in back just under the back of your skull and you can wear the headset for hours and have the faintest impression on your face afterward which goes away quickly.

Also, I learned this weekend that BlazeRush is the BEST game. For $10 I've spent about 6 hours racing toy cars around in essentially a destruction derby. I could not be happier with this game. The Steam version doesn't seem to support VR yet.

There's a big question you hear a lot with games. "But does it NEED VR?" In this case, no, the game has been out for quite a while on Steam without VR support. It works fine. But being there in the world looming right over the track and feeling that miniturized scale of the cars and tracks, having your opponent get blown right by your ear. It's really special, I have a big stupid smile on my face when I play, and as a jaded gamer that's really rare. I doubt I'd enjoy the flat version of this game nearly as much.

This seems like a great idea. Now can they do that for all games between PC, PS4, and XBO?

Eve: Valkyrie will support cross-platform play between Rift, Vive and PlayStation VR

Only for games willing to write their own servers. As an example, ProjectCARS uses Steamworks for its servers, so even PC to PC cross-platform (Steam <-> Oculus Home) isnt possible. They'd have to write their own server code that is platform agnostic to accomplish it.

UE4 has some cross platform matchmaking functionality. I wonder if Valkyrie just leveraged that.

Over the weekend I played a bunch of The Climb. It's currently Rift only, though I think Vive players can play with the Revive thing. In it, you have 15 climbs of various difficulty in 3 themes, Grand Canyon style, a rocky asian (indonesian?) island area, and Alps. You're represented by two (male) disembodied hands and to climb you look at what you want to grab and pull Right or Left trigger. Hand tracked control is coming later.

I found it to be the most engrossing experience I've had in VR so far. The way they handled the controls you have a real skill set you're building. You have to carefully pull the triggers to about half way when you're holding on or your stamina gets drained. Even after a few hours of practice you'll find yourself squeezing too hard because there are some truly tense moments, near misses, just-barely-grabbed-it holds.

It's a $50 (US) game and that was my main hesitation. I hesitated for about 2 days before glowing reviews made me grab it. I'm very glad I did as I've enjoyed every second of about 5 hours of play time now. Standing to play; crouching, stretching to reach etc adds a lot of tension. I worry for my windows, lamp etc when touch controllers get added.

So my friend's recommendation got me to preorder a Vive. It sounds like full room plus the motion controls is what sold him completely. He had Oculus as well. I have them both preordered at the moment and I'll probably end up returning one. I just wish the Vive wasn't so heavy apparently... I'm almost 100% sure that's going to be a deal breaker for me but we will see. Might be good neck exercise.

Big VR news of the day is that the Oculus Rift is headed to BestBuy in the US on May 7th for demos and a small number of the headset will be available to purchase at Amazon, and Microsoft online starting May 6th at 9am PDT and Best Buy in store on the 7th.

Oculus put together this page to help you find a BestBuy with a demo unit:

And yeah, its cheesing off folks who pre-ordered their units and are still waiting for them. To make up for it, Oculus is supporting a user status update that lets them cancel their pre-order, keep the pre-order bonuses (EVE: Valkyrie and Lucky's Tale) by marking their account as 'purchased at retail'


So, I've had a Rift and Vive for a few weeks. Time to compare!


Man, it's hard to compare! This is certainly first gen. Each has some significant weaknesses and strengths. There are a ton of trade offs. I think I ultimately do have a recommendation of one over the other if you are looking to be an early adopter in VR, but it does somewhat depend on what you want to get out of it.


I'll start with setup. The Rift is easier to setup, but that's really due to having fewer moving parts because it just does less. The Rift is currently just a seated/standing HMD. The Vive has a lot more going on with controllers, multiple tracking stations, and room scale tracking. There is understandably more to worry about when setting up Vive.


The Vive has a more robust solution here, no question.

With the Rift's single camera is just too easy to occlude accidentally. Holding my hand up, or turning at the right angle and reaching up to adjust the HMD would quickly lose tracking. Moving the camera up to point down at me at an angle helped, but the Rift really needs a second tracker. The range and FOV are comparatively small. If you've experienced a DK2, I'll say the tracking volume is a bit larger than that. But due to the cone shaped volume, there are blind areas if you get too close to the tracker. Again, I expect a second camera to help here.

The Vive on the other hand is really spot on. The way they setup the play area is really quite neat. The area doesn't have to be a square, and they have a clever way to setup your bounds to maximize the volume in which you can roam. I pushed it as far as I could in the space I had, and ended up with a huge roughly 4.0 x 3.5 meter area in which to freely walk around. I could reach floor to ceiling in the entirety of the volume with no blind spots. This is larger than recommended maximum size, and I still had no issues with the equipment losing tracking or sync. I've heard that reflective surfaces can be a problem. I didn't have any in my case so I didn't really try that out.

Being able to walk around freely in such a large volume takes the Vive to another level. There's VR, and then there's walking around in VR. Maybe you think this is not important to you, but I'm telling you it is. The Rift will get this eventually, but right now this is an incomplete area for the Rift.


One of the only areas where a direct comparison is possible. Unfortunately, I don't think there is a clear winner here. Each headset does certain things better than the other, and I think due to plain old differences in physiology this will be a very subjective choice. I highly suggest trying them both if you can and see which one works better for you.

Comfort. This is a toss up. The rift is more ergonomic and comfortable to wear, IF your head falls in the 80th percentile of humans. If you have a small head (kids), a large head, or are anything other than an average adult, the Rift won't adjust to you. It has very few points of adjustment. The Vive is a fair bit clunky, but it adjusts to a wider range of people. The Vive can adjust the lenses in and out to accommodate glasses and get your eyes closer to the screens. The Rift cannot (a feature removed since DK2). The Vive comes with multiple face pads (one wide and one narrow). The face pads on Vive also have cutouts on the sides to accommodate glasses.

The Vive does a better job blocking light with a soft rubber gasket that fits across the bridge of your nose. The Rift leaks light around the nose and is not adjustable.

Both optics are Fresnel lenses. The Rift has a higher density of ridges, and the glare off of these is worse than the Vive. I found this particularly distracting. However, the Rift has a wider "sweet spot" for focus, and the distortion at the edges is not as severe. I found myself adjusting the position of the HMD on my face less often with the Rift. The Vive has more of a circular FOV, while the Rift's is taller than it is wide and sort of square. This gives the impression of a wider FOV in the Vive, though I think they are really about the same. It's just that I noticed the edges of my vision more in the Rift.

The "screen door" effect is nearly identical on both, and hardly worth mentioning. You might notice it on a pure black or pure while transition. Otherwise it's just not there.

The Rift maintains focus across a wider area in the center of your vision, though both are quite clear coming from DK2. I had no issues reading even the smallest text in Elite on either device.

The front facing camera is a handy feature Vive has that Rift lacks. I found myself using it quite a bit to quickly check something in my environment without having to push the HMD up off my face and then fiddle with getting it back in the sweet spot.


Tracked controllers are absolutely required for VR. Like room scale, I didn't understand how much of a difference this makes until I tried it. The Vive's are nice enough. Not much to compare them to, but they work really well. The track pad and haptics from the Steam controller make an appearance and are quite nice. The remote control-like handles are surprisingly convincing as both a gun and a sword.


Another area where we can make direct comparisons.

Oculus Home is currently awful. Physical setup is easier, but the software kills it. I ended up installing it three times (and waiting for it to download 800MB each time) because it kept screwing up and failing at the end. They had a problem where it only installed games to C:, which they fixed, but then I had to download all the software I had already installed AGAIN. Oculus went for a minimalist approach with the software and they don't let you tweak much, nor do they give you many ways to get information. The Home lobby sure looks nice, but it's just not very functional. I have to click through multiple layers of UI to adjust simple things like recentering the HMD. There are actually settings you can see, but cannot change from within the HMD. Why??

SteamVR in comparison is feature rich and smooth. The UI is a button click away at any time. I can pop up and interact with my desktop at any time from within the HMD, and I can play any of the games in my steam library on a virtual screen. I guess this is to be expected since Valve's been polishing steam for years.

Steam was quite bad when it first came out too, so I guess I'll chalk Oculus Home up to just being early software.


This is where you realize room scale and controllers are important. As I worked my way through Rift's offerings, I started noting that almost everything (including the Oculus Studio titles like Lucky's Tale, Henry and Lost) would work just fine on a flat monitor. Seeing everything in immersive 3D is neat, but it doesn't offer very many new mechanics.

Then on the Vive, I fired up Fantastic Contraption. Then Job Simulator. The Lab. Vanishing Realms. Budget Cuts. Mind. Blown. Being able to move around and interact with what you see is just a whole different level. I'm peeking around corners, lining up shots between trees with my bow, jumping sideways to dodge things. Wow.

Elite: Dangerous

Points for Rift: SLI works.

Points for Vive: Lens glare is more tolerable.

Rift currently seems to have a problem with contrast and color banding in Elite. It's pretty ugly. I'm hoping they work this out, and I think they will since I don't observe this in any other Rift title. As it stands the image quality is terrible in Rift. Many folks have reported low resolution bugs with Vive and Elite, but I've not encountered it.

Other than that, they both work great! The reprojection tricks happening on both platforms eliminate judder seen on the DK2 almost completely.


The Vive is like having your own freaking holodeck. It's freaking amazing, but definitely first generation. The HMD and controllers are a bit clunky, but you can tell they went for flexibility. Software and VR experiences are much more feature rich than what Rift currently offers.

The Rift is an incomplete package. The HMD is really great, if you have an average adult physiology and don't wear glasses. The optics exhibit worse artifacts than Vive's. If you buy a Rift, plan on buying a second camera and controllers when they come out. Just set aside the money now. Pretend it's early access and the rest of VR will get here when your Oculus Touch controllers arrive.

I just got my shipping notification for the Vive. I just peed a little...

Thanks for the report!

I'm still holding on to my self control for now (at least until I get back from my vacation later this month), but I think I now know what I'll buy if I impulse buy before updates and revisions happen.

Do the lighthouse stations on Vive need to be catercorner? Curious about positioning. Trying to decide if I want to get some tripods for a movable solution or wall mount them. Not thrilled about stringing a cable between them.

bandit0013 wrote:

Do the lighthouse stations on Vive need to be catercorner? Curious about positioning. Trying to decide if I want to get some tripods for a movable solution or wall mount them. Not thrilled about stringing a cable between them.

Ideally, they are placed facing each other in opposite corners, above head height. As long as they have line of sight between them, you don't need the sync cable. You just need a power source for each. If you placed them on one side of the space, I think you'd end up having tracking issues when you turned toward them, or when your body blocked visibility for the controllers. But I never tried this.

While I was figuring out my space and moving them around often, I had them mounted on tripods about head height. This worked fine most of the time. If someone stood between them blocking LoS for too long (a few seconds), they would lose sync until that someone moved out of the way.

Thanks Orphu, that's good to know about LoS and the Sync cable. I was a bit grumbly about the thought of having to run a sync cable around the edge of the room. Tripods will work best I think.

Ok, I received my Vive on Wednesday and just got it set up today (Thursday). This is my 3-4 hour review.

I had already installed Steam VR from the Tools menu in steam and HTC sent me a code for Fantastic Contraption, Job Simulator, and Tilt Brush. I also downloaded the Lab for free.

I wanted my solution to be mobile, so instead of mounting the lighthouses I went to the local camera store and bought 2x light stands ($29 each) and 2x ball mounts ($7 each). Vive recommends catercorner setup at 6.5'. I have mine set at 7' with a 2x2M space in the home office for now. So far that's been plenty of space, though I think I want a 3x3M space ideally (more on this later).

Plugging in and syncing the base stations was easymode. I just eyeballed it and it connected right away. The controllers come with wall plugs and micro usb. Charged them fully before use as per instructions.

The headset itself comes with a link box and the videos at walk you through hooking all the wires in. Had no issues with this. Grabbing my charged controllers, headset, and my over the ear gaming headset I was ready to rock.

Steam has a handy VR button in the upper right since I had installed the tools. Clicking this launched the setup. This was pretty friendly, it had you position the headset and controllers in your playspace, then you walk a controller around the edge of where you want your boundaries. The Vive headset has a jack for your headphones, and I did have to go into the sound panel in Windows to move the speaker output to the Vive to get the sound working. The wizard/walkthough was easy to follow and I did so without issues.

Headset / Fit
I find the headset to be relatively comfortable. I would say I have an above average head size. My sons, 9 & 11 also used it and did not complain about weight or heft. My 9 year old wears glasses and preferred to take his glasses off to play (he doesn't have bad vision). He's not savvy enough to mess with the straps, etc, but it looks to me like you could wear glasses and use this thing with the right adjustments... I'd probably recommend contacts though. My 17 yr old daughter also had no issues with the headset, though she has wild long hair and had to take time to get that situated.

I did find that the foam around the mask made me sweat a bit where it made contact, but I tend to get warm and sweat easily.

Software tutorial
When instructed to place the headset on, I was taken to a large area. Looking up and around was amazing, very immersive. A tutorial showed me all the buttons on the controllers and introduced the safety mode. Having outlined your playspace it puts a virtual grid up in blue lines when you approach the edges. It starts faint and gets darker as you get closer. This feature works well in all apps I have played with so far.

Game 1 - Tilt Brush
Not really a game, more like 3d paint. This was an instant hit with my artistic minded stepdaughter. It has environments and presets to give you stuff to paint on and I can see how people could get really into this. I'm not artistic at all but I enjoyed making some swirls and I could see myself painting by numbers if templates were available.

Game 2 - Job Simulator
My boys love this game. It's cutesy, gives interesting tasks to do in the VR world and the audio/story is quite humorous at times. The boys were able to complete all the tasks given with a minimum of fuss, but some actions like pushing drawers closed didn't seem to work for them the first time. I haven't played this yet, so when I do I'll be curious to see if it's user error or if the control just isn't tight yet.

Game 3 - The Lab
A collection of mini games and experiences. I played a round of the bow and arrow tower defense and really enjoyed it. Getting smooth at nocking arrows and drawing the bow took some practice, but after a few waves I was getting it.

The mountaintop was cool, I see real possibilities for virtual tourisms and the space shooting game was neat.

Overall not much replay-ability here. I think it's a good app to introduce people to the headset with, but I didn't have a "Wii Sports" moment where I thought 'oooh, I'll be back to play x a lot'

Game 4 - Fantastic Contraption
** Didn't play yet, will update later**

Game 5 - Vanishing Realms
Wait what? You bought a game before trying the freebies? Yep, sure did. All I have to say about this one is:


HOLY sh*t

This game is Legend of Zelda. Amazesauce. Blown away. It requires a minimum of 2x2m which I barely fit in. I literally felt like I was in Zelda or a rendered version of The Black Cauldron. Total immersion. The controls were tight. Holding a shield and sword, blocking arrows, sword swings, counter attacking. Shooting a bow at high up enemies. Picking up treasure on the ground, finding secret passages... I am literally thinking about calling in sick tomorrow and spending the day with this. WOW.

Downside? 2x2M is the minimum. I had frequent times when I wanted to take just 2 more steps before using the control to "warp" myself to the next spot. I adjusted as I played and it got better, but this thing would be brilliant with another meter...

The brilliant thing about this one was just how intuitive the controls and inventory were. I had no problems ruffling through my inventory and things behaved the way I expected them to without much tutorial prompting. This is v1 and I'm stoked for the future...

Game 6 - The Gallery - Episode 1
**This appears to be some kind of point and click adventure. Haven't played yet, will update when I do.**

The Bad
Well, not really bad. I'm stoked with my experience and this was totally worth the money. My buddy has oculus and the Vive crushes it. Room-Scale makes all of the difference. Couple things bothered me though.

1. The cord. Most of the bundle games it wasn't an issue at all. In Vanishing Realms I was turning a lot more. Being aware of how I was "winding and unwinding" myself helped, but it takes you out of the immersion. Perhaps some kind of overhead cable suspension can be rigged up...

2. Text. Reading text in the game world feels wonky. I find I have to position my head straight on. If the text is slightly below or above me I can't just glance down and read it, I have to literally move my head. This doesn't feel "right" because it's not how the real world works. Probably nothing to be done though because you're really staring at a tiny screen.

I finally received my Vive last week after a seemingly endless wait for it to ship. I've read about just about everything I could about this new generation of VR, and placed my preorder based largely on the promise of the hand controllers and room tracking that the Vive offered out of the box. So far that has proven to be a very good decision.

I've tried some of the seated VR stuff with an Xbox controller in hand, (mirroring to some extent what you'd get with a current retail Oculus) and while there are plenty of fun immersive experiences to be had there, I've found the games that really exploit room scale and the vimotes to be the most awe inspiring.

The accuracy is literally perfect--or so close to perfect that it doesn't matter to my perceptions. In Zen Blade I have enough fine control to balance a watermelon on the flat of my sword, bouncing it ever so often into the air, then slashing it in half before it hits the ground. The haptic feedback is in perfect sync giving a weightiness to the objects as you interact with them. In games featuring bows you can feel the tension in the string as you pull back an arrow, or the impact on a shield when struck by a foe's sword. I'm sold completely.

While many of the games out now are early, and have the feel of simple tech demos, they are engaging in ways that traditional flat screened games can't mimic. Shooting arrows in Holopoint while dodging incoming fire in pseudo-bulletime is so well done that it's hard not to keep coming back just for the sheer fun of it. I'm not advancing a story, and it is essentially just a score chase right now, but I'm doing something that has never been possible before with gaming with an eerie positioning accuracy that makes for a very physical experience.

There are times in games like Budget Cuts, Vanishing Realms, and The Lab that you are crawling on the floor (perfectly tracked by the lighthouses) to avoid obstacles or hide from enemies. The immersion and sense of scale you get from these interactions is unlike anything I've ever experienced in a game. Physically leaning IRL around a corner to sneak up on a patrolling robot, peeking over the edge of a cliff and getting that slight sense of vertigo, leaning closer to an object to get a better look at it, and basically interacting with a virtual world in the same way you would in reality. That is the seller to me for this VR experience, and that can not be duplicated passively sitting with an Xbox controller in your hand. That is what makes it all gel.

So if you've had prior experience with earlier headset versions without room scale and hand controllers and been unimpressed, I'd recommend giving a Vive a try if at all possible. It has left me very excited about the future of VR and the possibilities it holds, especially once we start to see true AAA game releases with big budgets behind them.

I don't' have either but if I did I would be checking this out.

Studio Ghibli VR package now available on Rift, Vive